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Australian Open 2020: Petra Kvitova vs Maria Sakkari, match preview and prediction

  • Can Kvitova continue her strong run in Melbourne against a resilient Sakkari?
ANALYST
Preview
Modified 25 Jan 2020, 16:51 IST

Petra Kvitova has not lost a set in her first three matches in Melbourne.
Petra Kvitova has not lost a set in her first three matches in Melbourne.

The exits of Naomi Osaka, Danielle Collins and Karolina Pliskova means that only one of the four semifinalists from last year's edition remain in the Australian Open women's field.

Seventh seeded Petra Kvitova has given confusing signals at the beginning of her campaign. She lost just one game in the opening match, but following it up with a rather patchy performance in the second.

While the Czech looked to be back in business in her round of 32 match against Ekaterina Alexandrova, how she fares under real pressure remains to be seen.

And a test is precisely what awaits last year's finalist in the fourth round. Greek no. 1 Maria Sakkari outplayed an in-form Madison Keys in her third round match to set up a date with Kvitova on Sunday.

Maria Sakkari has troubled Kvitova in the past.
Maria Sakkari has troubled Kvitova in the past.

Sakkari would be thrilled with how things have turned out for her this week so far. Not only is she playing her best tennis, she is also up against a player who she has had success playing against in the past.

The two women met thrice in 2019 with them splitting the first two matches; the third ended in retirement from Kvitova's side. But Sakkari knows that she has the kind of game that troubles the big-hitting Czech.

Kvitova has played some solid tennis this week and her forehand looks to be in good shape. She has been hitting winners left, right and centre and has managed to keep the unforced errors under control too.

Kvitova
Kvitova's forehand has worked well for her up to this point in the tournament
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It was her serve that bothered her in the second round match, and we have seen the occasional slip in that department far too often in recent years. The Czech tends to go off the rails when even a single element in her game breaks down, and she will have to be very careful about that in her upcoming match.

If Sakkari can impose herself early in the match and put Kvitova under some pressure, she might have a good chance of sending Kvitova on a downward spiral. If not, the southpaw might just prove to have too much firepower for Sakkari to handle in the end.

Prediction: Kvitova to win in two sets.

Published 25 Jan 2020, 16:51 IST
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